Frequently asked questions
Before looking for training programs, it’s good to know what these acronyms mean.
SSD = Secondary School Diploma or
DSS = Diploma of Secondary Studies
The diploma issued after five years of studies at a regular secondary school.
DVS = Diploma of Vocational Studies
DVS programs range from 600 to 1,800 hours over a period of six to eighteen months and prepare students for specific jobs while also providing a general education. They are offered by school board vocational training centres.
AVS = Attestation of Vocational Specialization
These are programs designed for people who already have a diploma of vocational studies (DVS) and want to upgrade their skills. They are also offered by school board vocational training centres.
DCS = Diploma of College Studies
Technical diplomas of college studies are offered by CEGEPs. They prepare students for specific jobs that require the knowledge and application of recognized techniques.
ACS = Attestation of College Studies
These are technical college training programs that last about one year and are designed for adults returning to school.
VTT = Vocational and Technical Training
In Québec, all the DVS, AVS, technical DCS, and ACS programs make up VTT.
“Heading for Success” has identified the 145 careers that offer good job prospects in one or more areas of Québec from now through 2014. It is quite likely these careers will continue to offer good prospects beyond 2014. All these careers require a secondary school DVS or a college-level technical DCS.
To learn about job prospects for other careers or occupations, use the following resources:
Information on the labour market - Emploi Québec’s LMI site, in the “Explore a trade or occupation” section
On “Heading for Success,” you’ll find the average hourly and annual wage for the 145 careers with good job perspectives. Emploi Québec’s LMI site has more detailed pay information. Similarly, the study on the placement of graduates identifies the DVSs and DCSs that lead to the best-paid jobs.
Information on the labour market - Emploi Québec’s LMI site, in the “Explore a trade or occupation” section
On “Heading for Success,” you’ll find careers requiring a DVS or technical DCS. DVS programs last approximately six to eighteen months. DCS programs last three years, but there are also one-year college training programs called ACSs.
If you’re looking for a short college-level program, write down the name of the technical DCS that interests you on “Heading for Success.” Then use the following list:
You’ll be able to see if there are any ACS programs in the same field as the DCS that interested you on “Heading for Success.” Inforoute FPT (Québec VTT resource site) also features a list of ACS programs, organized under the same categories that are used on “Heading for Success.”
DVS admission prerequisites vary depending on the DVS program and on your situation. If you have an SSD (DSS), you are immediately eligible for a DVS program. Otherwise, you must complete at least the Secondary III and possibly the Secondary IV prerequisites. In some cases, prerequisites may be completed at the same time as your first DVS courses (i.e., once you’ve already begun the DVS program).
If you’re over 18 and don’t have an SSD (DSS), you can take the GDT (General Development Test) or the SSET (Secondary School Equivalency Test). These are tests to demonstrate that your learning abilities are similar to those of a secondary school graduate. Once you’ve passed these tests, you may be asked to take one or two other prerequisite courses.
Since it’s complicated, you really need to check the exact prerequisites for admission to every DVS that interests you. Inforoute FPT (Québec VTT resource site) describes all the DVS programs, including their admission requirements.
Some institutions also use selection tests for the most popular DVS programs.>
To get admitted to a technical DCS, you must have an SSD (DSS). This is generally the case for ACS programs as well.
For more information on college-level admission requirements, see the SRAM site.
Note that makeup courses will be required if you did not pass the following secondary-level courses:
- Secondary V French
- Secondary V English
- Secondary IV math
- Secondary IV physical sciences
- Secondary IV Québec and Canadian history
It’s also possible to get admitted to a DCS on the basis of a successfully completed DVS program. In this case, you must also have completed the Secondary V French and English course and Secondary IV math.
In addition to the general college admission requirements, a number of DCS programs also have specific requirements, often in math and science. The DCS description on Inforoute FPT (Québec VTT resource site) includes a list of these specific prerequisites.
Again, all the DVS and technical DCS programs are described on Inforoute FPT (Québec VTT resource site).
The description includes a blue box at the top of the page with dropdown menus to help you find local institution(s) that offer(s) the DVS or DCS program that interests you.
Inforoute FPT also has a list of ACS programs and the institutions that offer them.
According to SRAM, 90% of applicants are admitted to the college program of their choice. If your Secondary IV and V grades are above average, your chances of being admitted are better, especially if the DCS that interests you is competitive. Similarly, if you pass difficult courses like Secondary V optional math, chemistry, and physics, your chances will also be better.
SRACQ also has a tool to help you calculate the probability of being admitted to the technical DCS that interests you. You’ll need your last secondary school transcript in order to properly use the tool. The tool allows you to assess your chances of admission to a large number of technical programs.
Many adults complete a DVS or ACS program with the goal of gaining new skills and changing careers. Both types of programs can help you gain the skills needed to enter a new occupation.
Remember that “Heading for Success” only lists the 145 careers that have good job prospects from now through 2014 and forwhich VTT can help you prepare. As such, there are two main reasons that could explain why you can’t find the specific program of interest on “Heading for Success:”
- You’re looking for a university program.
- You’re looking for a program leading to a career that is not included in the list of careers with best job prospects.
According to the latest Emploi Québec forecasts, over 733,000 jobs in Québec will need to be filled between 2010 and 2014. That’s around 17% of the entire labour force. And one in three of these jobs will require secondary-level vocational or college-level technical training.
These future opportunities offered by VTT are often disregarded by young people and their parents, whereas for many young people, VTT offers more appropriate training options than university studies.
“Heading for Success” therefore seeks to provide a much-needed understanding of VTT and the job opportunities it opens up.
Some DVS and ACS programs have distance learning options. On the following Inforoute FPT (Québec VTT resource site) Web page, you can find a list of institutions that offer distance DVS or ACS programs. Click on the institution name for more details.
Most DVS programs are full-time, but some are offered in the evenings. To find out if the DVS program that interests you is offered in the evening, visit the Inforoute FPT (Québec VTT resource site) page where it is described. In the blue box at the top of the page of the program, use the dropdown menu to select the institution closestto you. You’ll find very practical information there, including the next start date for classes, the number of spaces available, the admission deadline, and class times.
Some ACS programs are offered part-time. The only way to find out for sure is to check the description of the ACS in question on the website of the institution that offers it. To find an institution that offers the ACS you’re interested in, you can use Inforoute FPT (Québec VTT resource site) or the SRAM site.
For both DVS and ACS programs, we recommend calling the institution to check times and whether the program is full- or part-time. Sometimes things can change quickly.
If you’re a full-time student pursuing a DVS or an ACS, you could be eligible for Québec’s Loans and Bursaries Program, provided you meet the other requirements. See the document entitled, “Student Financial Assistance.”
Note that adults receive more financial aid than young students, and those with dependent children even more.
There is also a separate financial aid program for part-time students.
You can also estimate the assistance you’ll receive using this assessment simulator.
If you are pursuing studies to increase your chances of finding a new job, you could receive Emploi Québec assistance instead.
To be eligible for this assistance, you must first meet with an agent at your local employment centre (CLE). The agent will assess whether you need training to avoid prolonged unemployment.
It’s important to find out as much as you can about a training program or career before you commit to it. The trade and occupation descriptions on Emploi Québec’s LMI site are a key starting point. For every trade or occupation, there is a job description, information about job prospects and wages, a list of corresponding training programs, etc.
Labour market information - Emploi Québec’s LMI site, in the “Explore a trade or occupation” section
Inforoute FPT (Québec VTT resource site) has become Québec’s official VTT site. All the training programs are described there in detail: subject matter, admission requirements, jobs they can lead to, etc.
There are two other resources that are also very useful:
Very often the various sector committee sites contain information about careers in their respective industries and corresponding training programs. VTT can provide access to a number of these careers. The sector committees span a range of industries including aeronautics, the environment, information technology, mining, and more.
VTT graduates have access to a number of professional orders. The professional order sites contain information about the nature of their professions and the training programs that allow graduates to become order members.
Here are other sites about careers in major industries:
It’s always hard to know why someone is having trouble finding a job unless we meet with the person. Often a personalized assessment is needed. However here are some common reasons people have trouble finding jobs:
- Demand for your qualifications is low right now in the geographical area in which you’re searching.
- You haven’t spent enough time or worked hard enough on your job search.
- You’re only using one—rather than multiple—job search methods.
- You don’t know which employers in your area might need your services.
- Your resumé doesn’t properly reflect your qualifications.
- You have trouble with interviews.
- You’ve found it all too difficult and don’t feel motivated anymore.
Job Find Centres (CREs) can help you improve how you search for a job.
The primary goal of VTT programs is not to train future business owners, but rather qualified workers. Many VTT graduates work in large manufacturing outfits operating very expensive equipment that is hard to acquire, which means it would not be easy for them to work for themselves.
Experts say that to succeed in business, you need a number of things, including solid training in your field and several years’ experience before starting a business. A number of the VTT training programs could pave the way for starting a business down the line. For example, a secretarial studies DVS graduate could open a home office and provide services to freelancers, or become an office automation trainer. Similarly, a college-educated accountant could offer bookkeeping services to SMEs that don’t need a full-time bookkeeper.
There are certain VTT graduates that tend to work more often for themselves, including cabinetmakers, graphic designers, insurance brokers, farmers, designers, Web designers, hairdressers, aestheticians, and some truck drivers.
Many young people don’t know how to choose a training program. Since they have little decision-making experience, their choices are not always well informed and they end up having to start over again later on.
To avoid these pitfalls, you should take an organized, methodical approach, especially since it may be the first major decision you have to make in life. The following steps will help you identify a job that is both suitable (matches your personality) and promising (offers good job opportunities).
- Determine your top interests and best talents.
- Use your interest and talent profile to generate a set (seven or more) of corresponding career options.
- List all other expectations (length of schooling, expected pay, ease of job search, etc.), which will help pare down your list of options.
- Find out what type of training each career option requires.
- Find out what job opportunities each option offers.
- Finalize your choice by selecting the option that best matches your expectations, in light of the two points above.
Following these steps isn’t easy, and you may feel a wide range of emotions as you come to a decision: anxiety, doubt, uncertainty, etc.
In addition, as with any decision, some people may experience particular difficulties making up their mind and need specialized assistance.
If you feel like you need help going through the process to make your decision, you should meet with a guidance counsellor. Your school counsellor is there for precisely this reason.
If it’s hard to meet with a counsellor in your school or you no longer attend school, you can meet with a counsellor from a community organization or private practice. Follow the instructions on the following Web page (French only):
Some young people feel like nothing interests them, so they find it impossible to complete the career or training program selection process. There can be a number of reasons for this.
Some may have trouble showing interest in a career because they feel like they don’t know enough about it and are afraid of making a mistake. If this is your case, it’s important to get involved in a variety of activities, both at school and elsewhere, to figure out what you like to do. You should also go to training institution open houses, or ask family members to let you accompany them to their jobs so you can see what they do. And sometimes you just have to accept the fact that we cannot do more than make the best decisions possible with the information available to us.
As humans, we are naturally interested in our surroundings. When this is no longer the case, it’s important to find out why. Loss of interest is one of the first signs of depression. Some young people who are going through tough times at school or at home feel like the world around them is scary, and so they withdraw and stop showing interest. When this happens, a psychologist can be a big help.
Some young people may experience other difficulties and should seek a psychologist’s or guidance counsellor’s assistance.
Some young people have trouble choosing from among their many interests and don’t want to give up any interesting areas of study. They’re afraid they’ll lose out on something if they choose a training program or specific career too fast.
If this is you, try to accept the fact that you must focus on a specific goal and choose among your many interests. It’s impossible to keep your options open forever.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to resolve this dilemma:
- Do I like everything the same? Having multiple interests doesn’t mean you like them all as much.
- What do I really want to do or achieve? Choose the training program or career that will allow you to reach your goal.
- What are my natural talents? You should choose a career or training program that matches your talents—not just your interests.
- What are my job expectations? Not all the careers that might interest you will meet your expectations.
This year we received a number of positive comments from users of the new version of our Aptitude Test. Others, however, were not satisfied, but this could be due to how the questionnaire is designed.
First, Aptitude Test results are limited to the 145 VTT careers described on “Heading for Success.” So, if you were expecting results that included occupations requiring university studies, it’s understandable that you were disappointed.
Second, it could be that you hoped to see a specific career show up on your Aptitude Test results. But if that particular career doesn’t have good job prospects, it won’t be one of the 145 selected careers.
The Aptitude Test therefore allows you to explore only promising VTT careers.
There are no scientifically validated tests available online in French. The Aptitude Test itself is not a validated test—rather, it’s a tool to help users explore the 145 most promising careers.
There are unfortunately a number of online questionnaires that aren’t scientifically based but that claim to be, and that often end up confusing rather than helping users.
Guidance counsellors have access to a variety of validated tests that produce individual profiles and present related training options. Counsellors have also been trained how to properly interpret test results. Since aptitude test results are easily misunderstood, it’s always better to consult a professional.